There and Back Again

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It has been some time since I have written on here. Free moments were swallowed up quickly during the month of May. This week is the first in a while where I have chosen to relish solitude. I have had little time to absorb it all and process the direction my life is going. Sometimes, everything seems so clear and full of purpose. Other times, I feel like I am exerting a whole lot of energy for nothing and want to throw my hands up in the air. In Honduras, I am free to do many things I could not in the states, but sometimes feel trapped by the endless possibility and find myself hoping someone will tell me what the next step is. Often, I feel oppressed as a female. In the USA, I feel limited by the complex systems and bureaucracy, but am free to express myself and act as I please without constant judgement. I find that what is good in one place can be bad in another and vice versa. There really isn’t a perfect home, and so, I am split between two. What I dislike about the USA, I find here, and what I like about the USA, is not to be found in Honduras. The irony of it all only validates for me that life is one big cosmic joke.

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I have had my share of creepy crawlies the past month in Honduras with a house full of ticks that required fumigation and a spider bigger than my hand that chased me around the house until I brought her life to an end with a garbage can.

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Sometimes my little neighbors drive me nuts, these children who are always yelling, “Betty! Betty! Betty!” at the gate all hours of the day. But when I choose to let them in, I find I also enjoy their company. They remind me to relax and not be so serious as we play hangman, make cookies, or knock mangoes out of the trees to enjoy while rocking in the hammocks. When these Honduran children are in my home screaming and running with Diego barking after them, all is chaos, and it reminds me of family get-togethers at home, and I have to smile.

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I enjoy my work with Casita Copan more than anything I do here, the children have so much love to give, and I feel like I am overflowing when I leave. The women that work there are so wise and strong, calm and collected. I find I learn much from them.

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Working in the clinic is a way to stretch myself in different ways. Here, a nurse is many things. One day I will be doing injections, basic intake of blood pressures, weights, and heights, and making arts projects and another day organizing paperwork, handing out prescriptions, going door to door vaccinating, and making laboratory slides. Some days are spent drinking coffee, enjoying each others company and a good laugh over things like me attempting to translate English songs into Spanish and then sing them.

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My Spanish is daily improving thanks to my wonderful instructor and friend. She teaches me more than just the language but about the culture as well, guiding me through the confusing or upsetting differences that I have trouble understanding and accepting. Whether I am sick, my house is infested by blood-suckers, I am having problems with men, or I am overwhelmed, her and her family find a way to remind me I am not alone and have people who care about me here. She is often a source of stability amongst all the uncertainty while being in a foreign country. Her generosity is a comfort, and her list of sassy responses demanding respect from men harassing me in the streets is invaluable.

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I have a friend here who has been showing me some of the most beautiful parts of Copan. The natural landscapes and rivers that speak to your heart and the quiet restaurants and cafes where one can feel relaxed and at home. These have been my best moments, exploring Copan’s hidden treasures with someone whose company and conversation I enjoy so much. Our time together has inspired me to write beautiful poetry and self-reflect on my journey and character.

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Going “home” felt foreign. I found comfort when I encountered people who spoke Spanish. Blues dancing, which I have missed so much, had a sense of melancholy, as most of the people I enjoyed dancing with were not there. I had more fun dancing with my mirror companion to the blues than with others. I went salsa dancing but found my salsa skills weren’t so hot anymore as I have stopped dancing in Copan due to the unwanted male attention. Dancing was once my addiction, but when it lead to me being perceived as a sexual object in Copan, the joy I once found in it began to fade. My best dance moments while in Oregon were dancing to funk and electronic music because there was no expectation to dance with others, only to feel the beat of the music and move my body in response. In the end, I found more joy in catching up with friends and family.

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I am not sure how many times I have moved these last couple of years, but now, I only possess enough to take in one truck load wherever I choose to go next. Going home and clearing out the rest of my stuff from my friend’s home was a daunting task. I found in the end it was easier to let my stuff go instead of trying to find a new home for it. I kept the pieces of wall art from my travels and my books, but most everything else got sent to Goodwill. I thought I would be sad, but instead, I feel that a huge weight is now off my shoulders. Finding a home for my cat was the most difficult part. I adopted him when no one else would and nursed him back to health. They told me he would probably only live one year, and he has been alive for four. How could I desert him or take him to a shelter again when he has come this far. I felt like an irresponsible, selfish mother. My sister was kind enough to adopt him into her home, and I am happy to hear he is adapting well but wish he could be here with me cuddling on my bed.

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I had a lovely time at the beach while in Oregon, enjoying the weekend wedding event of an old friend and his love. It was honestly the best part of my trip, being with one of my closest friends from college, seeing faces from high school days, dancing, drinking, and conversing with interesting and inspiring people. I miss the ocean and the calming certainty it gives. I love the Oregon coast and all the memories I have there. This non-traditional wedding was so sincere and honest, full of laughter and joy, just as a wedding should be.

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The biggest blessing I have in this life are my friends and family. You stretch across the globe and embrace me from afar. And the truth is I always have a friendly face somewhere thinking of me. Going to Portland and returning to Copan, I realize that neither is better than the other, only different, and I am happy to know I have many places I can call home.

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